Now I know I swore I would not return to “That” subject but, like an Edgar Allan Poe story it keeps battering its wings against my window pane. It would appear, if this weren’t so serious it would be funny, that while old Popey is fulminating against a proposed English law that will make life a little more equitable for gays, a homosexual vice ring has been discovered in the Vatican! Heavens to Betsy! Whatever next? Not exactly in old Popey boy’s bedchamber but pretty darn close. Isn’t life just full of surprises? No sooner has he had to cope with Irish and German priests misbehaving very badly indeed when this lands on his mat. Well, let’s not get all philosophical about it. People will just never learn, in particular infallible Popes, but that really goes without saying.
Reading “The Baron of Piccadilly” the life of Albert Smith 1816-1860 by Raymund Fitzsimons I read this, if I may quote (the book is in copywrite for a few years yet) – “In Brussels the English tourists were everywhere: loudmouthed and ignorant in the museums and galleries; noisy and irreverent in the churches. They spoke no language but their own and expected immediately to be understood. They were arrogant and rude to those who served them, and they were tolerated only for the money they spent.”
There’s nothing new under the sun and nothing ever changes. There are a number of expats here and holiday makers every season to whom that description is applicable. You would think Britain still ruled the waves. Mind you, German holiday makers have a pretty gruesome reputation, especially on the beach, and especially large pushy ladies with sharp elbows as I remember to my cost at Taormina. So let’s be fair, it’s not just the Brits.
Noel coward is reputed to have said, “How potent cheap music is!” He could just as well have said it about good music. Since watching “Sweeney Todd” again the music goes around and around in my head and not just two or three numbers but virtually the entire score: solo, chorus, instrumental. This week we also watched “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” so it has been a Sondheim week. That brought back happy memories of the summer season at The Wayside in Virginia. I see “Private Lives” is revived once again in London and getting good notices. That too was a wonderful play to be in, especially opposite a remarkably talented actress who it was a perfect delight to work with: a small town, a small, theatre, a small company and a big experience never to be forgotten.
Coward was rightly famous for his off the cuff quips. At a rehearsal for a Royal Variety performance at the London Palladium one year he was seated in the stalls and Laurence Olivier and his then wife, Vivien Leigh appeared on stage both having recently suffered an accident and were either bandaged up or on a crutch, I don’t remember which, and Coward was heard to say, “Brittle people, these Oliviers.” Can you not just hear that fruity voice in those four little words?